Robotic music Classical music may not be for everyone, but when a robot disguised as a conductor, leads an orchestra and a famous tenor through Verdi, you may sit up and pay attention. More than 800 people did just that during a recent charity gala in Pisa, Italy as YuMi, a dual-armed robot from manufacturer ABB lead Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli and soloist Maria Luigia Borsi performed.
Holding a baton in its right arm, YuMi sat perched on a tall table, its movements fluid like, well, a conductor. Performing for 15 minutes, the robot was able to replicate some of the subtleties of movement because of programming along its arm — mimicking the bending of the wrist, the elbow and the forearm, notes ABB.
A robot conducting an orchestra is not new. Honda's Asimo robot conducted the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in 2008 with no less than Yo Yo Ma. Asimo walked on to the stage for his debut and worked without a baton — but his arms moved much less fluidly.
While robots are expected to replace humans in many roles — and already have — artificial intelligence housed inside machine made bodies are not considered as much of a threat to the arts. Yes, robots have made artistic endeavors in the past — there's even an robot art contest for them — the cross-over from mimicry and programming to true creation does not seem there. Yet.
This robot just conducted Verdi
Meet YuMi, a robot in disguise as an orchestra conductor, that led Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli through an aria from Verdi's "Rigoletto."
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